Little headsup, Mastodon developers seem to be testing a language selector in the posting interface (see attached image).
The idea is you set the language you're posting in which will make it easier for other people to filter your post out if they don't speak it.
You can already set your default language in the Preferences/Settings section, but the idea of this new feature is to let you optionally change the setting for each particular message. This is handy if you toot in several languages.
I have no idea if/when this will be rolled out, the developers' instances often get test features like this.
p.s. I'm guessing this is also because a lot of people leave their post language setting as English even if they don't post in English.
There are two language settings on Mastodon: your interface language and your default posting language. The interface language is what you see on the interface, but the posting language setting is what your posts tell the language filter. (So, if you have it set to English the filter will treat your posts as English even if you use a different language.)
As well as helping multilingual people, this feature (if it is rolled out) will hopefully make people more aware of what setting their posting language default is, which will then make the language filters work better.
p.p.s. Just to make clear, this is not a translation system.
It just lets you tell Mastodon what language you are using in that toot.
This makes the Mastodon language filter work better, and lets other people filter their timelines more effectively.
There is a translation system in development but this isn't it.
@feditips What if you toot something in two or more languages, that's it, you write in a toot the same message in two languages?
You can toot whatever you want in any langauges, this is just an option for helping the language filter work better.
If you use different languges in different toots, this feature is perfect because you can change the posting language for each toot.
If you use different languages within the SAME toot, that would cause problems for any language filter. You can't half filter toots, they are either visible or not..
I'm sorry, maybe I misunderstood.
What would you like the filter to do?
The discussion thread on the Mastodon github had the developers exploring options like allowing different language versions of the same toot, so that it can reach people with different filter settings.
I don't know if that's happening or not, but is this what you want to happen?
> I don’t know if that’s happening or not
This toot suggests that it is indeed going to happen: https://mastodon.social/@Gargron/108119475510800815
@feditips Aha! That would explain why I see lots of foreign language toots even though I have it set to filter for English.
There is a language detector, but apparently the problem has been that language detectors are just generally flaky. Detecrors are especially bad on the short messages of microblogging. The shorter the text, the harder it is for a machine to guess a language.
If someone can manually tell the filters a post's language, it would help the filters a lot.
And you're right, one language setting is not enough, most countries have people who speak several languages. I think this test feature is aimed at people who have more than one posting language.
A translation tool would be a separate feature I think. The feature in the original post is just about helping the filter, it's not translating anything.
Translation tool is being developed (I think) but it's not using Google at all, it's some open platform.
@feditips I, for one, will welcome a translation system. I like to pretend I understand more than just English.
@feditips question: i sometimes use two languages in one toot. Willtge software be able to handle this. I fear that Watchers who filter for only their language might outfilter toots by accident, bc i use more than one sometimes when i teanslate myself
Apparently they are working on a system where you can post the same toot several times in several languages, so you could split a multilanguage toot into those separate versions?
If someone speaks all the languages, they would see all the versions, but that's okay I think?
@feditips I was, so far , too afraid to filter languages in the presettings. I am always afraid i might miss really great art just bc the artist speaks mandarin or something like that.
I have mostly English/German folks following. So i hope none of them filtered for the other language or some posts of mine might be accidentally filtered out of their TL.
I'm curious four a multilingual option.
@feditips Translation would be welcome.
Filtering out other languages, not wanting to see them, strikes me as rather sad.
@feditips yeah I'll have mine set to only show me English and Spanish posts and then I'll read a sentence of a post and suddenly stop understanding it and realize it was in German the whole time
it's actually an interesting language for a native English speaker because it basically shows you where English came from (because English is a germanic language), and because of that, it's not as difficult to learn as other languages either because there are a lot of cognates and similar grammar structures
@feditips Seems to be part of the next release: https://github.com/mastodon/mastodon/commit/0cdb07757050825725cac76f1c9cf11cf64acc0a
@feditips The existing language filter feature does not seem to help control what comes up in my feed. I’m sorry, I’m a monolingual.
The idea here is it will make the filter work better, because people will more accurately describe what language they are tooting in. So people should see fewer toots with an unfamiliar language.
Apparently the problem with the filter at the moment is short text is hard for a machine to guess the language of.
@feditips So not the solution to the problem. I don't get why it isn't a default on option. The federation timeline is a mess because you can't get rid of foreign language tweets.
@feditips How about specifying script? A user may use several languages but fewer, or only one script. Of course, the real breakthrough would be a "Translate Toot" tool.
@feditips I'm very much looking forward to this feature!
Also, I hope that this will automatically change the "lang" attribute of the post input, because that also automatically sets the spell checker language (at least in Firefox).
@feditips Can we have a cat photo filter? Some of us aren't that into cats and don't want a million cat pics in their feed.
@feditips Ohhh, excellent. I had been hoping for something like this for ages, and especially after the language auto-detection was dropped recently. Finally the language filter on timelines may get a chance to be useful.
@feditips that is so cool! also cannot wait to see what the amazing devs of glitch-soc are gonna do with this amazing feature.
@feditips instead of filter language add a translate system will be better and that way more people interaction
@Jessikatme @feditips I'm unsure about that. Two mixed minds. I think at the moment many people who toot in multiple languages miss out on followers. I don't know whether allowing people to filter posts by languages they don't speak would make more people follow them? Either way, you're right, and inline translation is the better option for encouraging connections